In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell’s frightening vision of the future, (albeit a future that passed us by more than 25 years ago now), everything was monitored, surveillance was prevalent and freedom quashed. Well I was given a demonstration of it today (not much freedom quashing to be fair) and I got to tell you it was pretty impressive. The fact it was demonstrated by Patti, a pleasant and engaging lady from Canada probably helped allay any dystopian thoughts I was having. I was given a demonstration of Radian6. They are a company who listen and measure the entire social web. Basically if you have a word, a brand or a topic and you want to know what people are saying about it online, these people can tell you. What’s even more impressive is they can tell you very, very quickly. Like most things in this industry you need to be able to understand it and know what to do with it, getting it is only part of the solution. However as a tool for understanding your market, your competitors, and your customers better it is very useful. It’s not free, it’s not even cheap, but then why should it be, it is however potentially very valuable. The number of sites it measures is a number I can’t actually write down it’s so mind-blowingly high, a lot higher than 1984 that’s for sure; it scans them and pulls out the ones talking about whatever subject you’ve highlighted. We’ll be speaking to our clients about this service, I hope more than a few of them will be interested in using it.
At the end of Orwells book his main protagonists accept the will of Big Brother. Using very different techniques hopefully we will soon too.